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> Richard Dreyfuss, 26, took his part "with misgivings." He had dark suspicions, in fact, that Jaws would turn out to be "the turkey of the year." Boyish, eternally energized, Dreyfuss likes to talk politics. He registered as a C.O. during the Viet Nam War, and seasons his conversation with references to George Orwell and Richard Hofstadter.
Dreyfuss started acting at the age of eleven, playing Theodore Herzl at the West Side Jewish Center in Los Angeles. He became a recognizable movie personality in American Graffiti and a major film actor in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. While the filming of Jaws wound on, Dreyfuss would cry in mock frustration, "What am I doing out in the middle of the goddam ocean when I could be back in civilization, making personal appearances?"
While the cast assembled, the only integral member of the Jaws unit still back in California was Special Effects Whiz Bob Mattey. He was building a 24-ft. great white shark that would be required to surface, swim, submerge, snap its jaws, thrash its tail, roll its eyes and gobble up Robert Shaw. Usually movie monsters get to work under the most pristine studio conditions. Mattey's great white not only had to behave like the real thing but also had to work in a shark's habitat. Imagine King Kong tramping down Fifth Avenue and shin-nying up the Empire State Building, and the problems become a little clearer.
Real sharks were also required. Live ones were intercut with Mattey's creation for added verisimilitude. A dead one was needed to play the shark the townspeople thought was the killer. Some local fishermen promised they could provide the genuine article. After several fruitless days at a daily wage of $100the anglers came up with unsuitable catches. Frantic, the film company sent to Florida, and a 13-ft. tiger shark was flown up, packed in ice like a gourmet CARE package. The imported fish hung from a hook on the Edgartown dock for four days, sending up such a powerful stench in the hot sun that it quickly lost much of its curiosity value. Some townsfolk reciprocated later by depositing on Canuck and Brown's doorstep the moldering carcasses of sharks from local waters.
The film company was also afflicted by theft. Scavengers kept stealing everything from nylon line to generators. The social life offered little relief. In the summer the Vineyard draws a large crowd of bankers, lawyers and literary figures; they felt free to ask endless questions on the assumption that the movie folk had a great deal to answer for. Investment bankers who earned $400,000 a year wanted to know how much they could make as extras. Spielberg was continually asked how come he was so young. The producers also dodged questions about the workings of the mechanical shark, whose arrival was imminent.